To kick off their 2018 regular season, the Atoms played their first game against the Justice Wolves on Friday Aug. 24.
Following preparation in the form of intense practices, the Atoms strived to hopefully defeat the much improving Wolves. Additionally, they viewed replays and created a game plan based on team strengths seen and mistakes in the opposition.
The Atoms, who won this game last year on Aug. 25 by a score of 33-24. However, this year they did not obtain the same result as they lost the game by a score of 26-47.
Looking at the conference standings so far, the Atoms was the only team to lose their first regular season game out of four other teams. They are West Potomac, Mount Vernon, Hayfield, and T.C. Williams. The Atoms will play these teams (in order) the last four regular season games.
However, the game started a bit differently as senior starting quarterback Devin Gill was not cleared to play until Wednesday and was replaced by sophomore Danny Salisbury.
“Salisbury had played well in the scrimmage against Edison [last Thursday] and we had confidence in both guys,” coach Scott said.
Overall, though, it was a tough game for the Atoms on both offense and defense.
“Penalties really hurt us, it was a sloppy game by both teams,” head coach Michael Scott said.
Other than penalties, there are other specific places where Coach Scott has identified that improvement will need to be made to have a successful game against Woodson.
“We didn’t play very well up front both on offense and defense,” Scott said.
Another reason for why the game resulted in the way it did was due to the fact that the Wolves have “two very talented backs and an excellent receiver on offense,” Scott said.
However, the game did not completely go to waste as it provided as a learning experience early in the season in efforts to improve and have a more successful season.
“Every game, win or lose, is a learning experience. [From the game against Justice], we have to play with more discipline and execute better, on both sides of the ball,” Scott said.
Additionally, the game can be used to set attainable goals for the season and measure incremental improvements toward the team’s goals for the season.
“[For this season], our goal is to get better every day and continue to improve, so we can be playing our best possible football in November. We are just focused on working hard every day in practice to strengthen all of our skills in all aspects of the game,” Scott said.
Overall, since last season, Scott noted on differences between the team now and then when taking into account of improvements made.
“It’s difficult to compare teams year to year, because we lost some really good players to graduation, however a lot of the returning players are better and we have many underclassmen who are really contributing,” Scott said.
Next Friday, Aug. 31, the Atoms will head to WHS to face the Cavaliers who, so far this season, look decent with a 14-7 win against an extremely tough
South Lakes team. Last year, the Atoms defeated the Cavaliers, as well, by an uncomfortably close score of 14-13.
As for Justice, they will face an 0-1 James Wood team, who were battered in their 65-6 loss against Sherando, in which the Wolves are expected to have no difficult time winning.
The score of the game however could not be provided before the press time of this story.
Coach Scott planned to prepare the team for a tough Woodson team the same way he would prepare for any other game.
“We will prepare to beat them like all of our opponents. We break down their [Woodson’s] film, come up with our game plan [based on their errors], and practice to execute it,” Scott said.
Overall, hopes have not been terminated as the Atoms still have nine other games, four of which are against conference teams to keep their season alive.
Next three opponents:
Sept. 7 hosting Robinson 7PM
Sept. 21 hosting Fairfax 7PM
Sept. 28 hosting Washington-Lee 7PM